Philippolis in Black & White

For “first-timers” Philippolis can be like landing on the moon. The biting wind in Winter. The desolation as that wind sweeps over the flat plains, picking up debris and the dry earth. Locals bareback on horses. Children running between houses as they try to keep warm. The sound of a whip as goats are herded down a dusty street. The click-click-click as a 30-year-old bicycle comes past you.

But out of that eerie middle-of-winter small town comes the most incredible people. Especially the team at the Philippolis Digital Learning Centre: an all-women crew who are single-handedly bringing digital literacy to this town of 5000.

The “Phili” team took some of the Hazyview team on a trip through the streets of Philippolis yesterday, and here are some of the photos that capture Phili in Winter, “warmed” up with the smiles of our #PhiliRockstars.


Lulani Vermeulen leads the team on a walk through the streets of Bergmanshoogte, a suburb of Philippolis.


A stray dog on the stairs of a community hall at the top of Bermanshoogte.


The Philippolis team with Amukelani, Glenrose and Accolade (visiting from Hazyview).


For Glenrose Mashigo and Amukelani Nzombi this is their first trip to the Free State. Even though the locals say this week is relatively warm, us Mpumalanga folk don’t believe them!


Covering our ears as the Winter wind sweeps across the empty land behind us.


Sanne van Wyk, Natasha Padda, Endolene Jameson and Amu Nzombi talk about the history of Bergmanshoogte.


Lulani Vermeulen (right) is the GWF Free State Project Coordinator. She has lived on a farm close to Philippolis her whole life. She’s showing Glenrose and Amu around her hometown here, but later in the month she will be visiting Hazyview Digital Learning Centre for the first time herself.


Looking east in the direction of Colesberg, with Wielie Walie Preschool at the bottom of the photo. This was the first preschool that Kate Groch and her team built in Philippolis, all the way back in 2005.


A learner from Bergmanshoogte arrives at the Phili Campus during his school holidays.


An “oupa” from the community – Oom Piet – visits the Philippolis Digital Learning Campus to meet the visitors from Hazyview.


In bitter cold Philippolis, Lulani Vermeulen (GWF Free State Project Coordinator) makes the day of one of the community’s oldest women by gifting her with a fleece to help her through the rest of winter.


One of Phili’s oldest faces smiles for Accolade Ubisi from the Hazyview campus as she hands him a new cap.